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BBC News Online
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Russia's regions will shape the next parliament and its relationship with the Kremlin. Moscow can no longer afford to ignore the opinion of the local electorates or the views of the powerful regional governors, some of whom wield tremendous influence over voters. For a guide to the regional picture, click the key regions on the map:


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St Petersburg



St Petersburg is the second most important city in Russia. The city known as the cradle of the Russian revolution has become an established stronghold of reformers.

The reformist Yabloko movement of Grigory Yavlinsky led here during the elections of 1995. In December's election the government-sponsored Unity party came out on top, though the former prime minister, Sergey Stepashin - a prominent member of Yabloko - was victorious in one of the city's single-seat constituencies. The Mayor of St Petersburg, Vladimir Yakovlev, one of the leaders of the Fatherland-All Russia alliance, was re-elected in a separate mayoral election.

The Communist Party does not enjoy much support here, although some prominent communists enjoy a high personal rating, including the parliament speaker, Gennady Seleznev, who is also originally from St Petersburg.